The seemingly impossible has happened. An Arab nation has legalized cannabis farming. The Lebanese government announced that cannabis can now be cultivated for medicinal and industrial use—a move expected to provide a major boost to the nation’s collapsing economy.
Just a few months ago, Lebanon became home to a string of protests against a new tax that levied a daily charge on calls made through WhatsApp, putting the nation on the brink of a major revolution.
The tax has since been lifted, and the new law allowing the legal harvesting of cannabis might just be the solution to the nation’s financial crisis. A move that could in-turn become a lucrative export.
The announcement is pretty major. Despite cannabis being deemed illegal in the past, it was openly farmed in the nation’s Bekaa Valley. Lebanon has long-been said to be the world’s third biggest supplier of cannabis resin after Morocco and Afghanistan.
Under the new law, cannabis farming will be regulated across the country. The use of marijuana for recreational purposes is still illegal though. The aim of the new law is to foster a legal industry to produce cannabis pharmaceutical items, like CBD oil.
The possibility of legalizing cannabis has been discussed in Lebanese parliament since 2018. The law, now into effect, could bring in around $1 billion into the economy per year, a boost to a national with more than $80 million of national debt.